What is the name of your group(s)?
The Theresa Quinn Duo, Trio, Quartet, and Quintet – I sometimes work with a drummer, guitarist and two fabulous harmony singers, Stephanie Bax and Annie Deck Miller. No one can sing the American songbook like these women. For bigger R&B gigs, we add Phil Sims, trombone and Jim Bohm, trumpet.
I also am in the ‘all-girl’ band Girls Gone Mild with the famous Alison Pipitone, Mary Ramsey and Sue Rozler. I play occasional gigs with The Party Squad and blues guitarist Mark Winsick.
I play every Sunday at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church; and at least two shows a year at Musicalfare Theatre. Last but not least – The Caroling Counselors, four part a cappella lawyers!
Where are you from originally?
I grew up in Wales, New York; left the Buffalo area to live in Nashville and NYC and returned 9 years ago.
When and why did you start playing?
I started playing the piano around 5 years old, drove my parents crazy for lessons, accompanied every vocalist, school choir, instrumental ensemble and musical I could. In fact, I’m still doing that.
What was the first tune(s) you learned?
“Wagons West”. My poor family had to listen to me practice that for months before my first recital and the mere mention of the ditty elicits snickers and groans from my mom.
Who was your first teacher? Most instrumental teacher?
Every pianist in the East Aurora area studied with George Kelver. He was an amazing musician but I remember being very scared of him. My most instrumental teacher was my high school orchestra director, John Armesto. He used to stay after school with me and play his sizable viola repertoire so that I would be a better sight-reader for college. I will never forget that.
Is your family musical?
My brother is Brian Quinn, the virtuosic guitarist in a band of instrumental monsters, Ould Pound. Our maternal grandfather was a big band leader.
Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
Vladimir Horowitz and Joshua Bell for their technical perfection. I have always greatly admired Clara Schumann, as she sacrificed so much in her life because she understood how essential it was to her own well-being to perform. Randy Kramer and I wrote this summer’s show at Musicafare – Talk to Me Now – about Clara Schuman.
Describe your first instrument.
A beat up spinet in the family room that I learned pretty early can drive your family nuts, especially when you practice the same thing over and over. (See answer regarding First Tunes Learned…)
Where is your favorite place to play/sing in Buffalo?
I love playing my monthly gigs at Talty’s and the East End Grill in East Aurora. I like small places that regularly have music and where the patrons are there to hear music. When I go out, I choose places that have live music. We should all support establishments owned by people dedicated to offering live music.
Who are your favorite musicians?
My favorite musician is my four-hands partner Randy Kramer, Executive and Artistic Director of Musicalfare Theatre. He is a very different pianist than me – bombastic and technically perfect, which makes him so much fun to perform with.
Have you been in competitions? Any awards?
Lucky enough to have been in a bunch of Artvoice award winning theatre ensembles, I have a couple of the glass trophies in my home. Sometimes I even dust them.
Do you perform in public venues?
I play blues and R&B in bars and restaurants; and perform in professional theatres all over Western New York. The wonderful mix of venues can be found on my website calendar page – www.TheresaQuinn.com
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I am inspired by musicians who love to play and just can’t live without playing.
How often and for how long do you practice?
I have a rehearsal with others or I practice alone almost every day. I love to rehearse, maybe more than I love performing. I enjoy the musicians, the work, the give and take, the laughter and the frustrations that come with rehearsal.
Where do you practice?
I have a standing rehearsal with Stef and Ann at my house. We get a bottle of wine and create three part vocal arrangements in my loft area (great acoustics)! My church choir rehearsal is every week, year round, in a beautiful 1894 sanctuary. Those who can’t make that week’s rehearsal are emailed a recording of their vocal parts (but they miss the fun of getting together!)
Do you play/sing covers?
Being a pianist, I play a lot of Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, and Carole King. I try to cover great songwriters.
Do you play/sing original music? If so, who writes the music and the lyrics?
Every once and a while I will sneak in a tune I wrote when I was a staff songwriter in Nashville.
What are your strengths?
Versatility and my blues vocal growl.
What are your weaknesses?
I am the type of musician who must practice and work things out in my head before I ever perform. I’m just not a good “off the cuff” or “wing it” player.
Where and when is your next gig?
I will be playing CoCo’s Chanteuse Days – The Tuesday Sultry Female Singer Series on April 30 and May 23. 888 Main Street, downtown.
On April 13, I will be playing at Talty’s on Abbott, south of Tifft at 8, and just before (at 6:30) that I will be playing one set for a great cause – the South Buffalo Community Table Fundraiser at 196 Orchard Park Road in South Buffalo.
Girls Gone Mild plays the 4th Sunday of every month at 4 at the East End Grill in East Aurora.
In July and August, I will be singing the songs of the great female singer/songwriters in the musical Talk to Me Now at Musicalfare.
Photos by Steve Gabris
If you play in a group/band (or solo) here in Buffalo, and have an upcoming gig at a venue(s) in the city, consider sending Buffalo Rising an email requesting to be emailed a Q&A interview that we can then post, along with concert dates. It’s a fun and easy way to get your name in front of another audience that is interested in learning about the local music scene.
The requirements are:
-You must have a public show coming up in the city of Buffalo, as our focus is the urban landscape
-You must have a photo of the band
-Solo acts are also welcome
-Video is a plus
-CD/Album/poster art is welcome
-Links to Social Media sites are a bonus
-Ability to take accept both praise and/or criticism is a must
It is up to the discretion of Buffalo Rising whether or not to publish the interviews depending on nature of content submitted, or lack thereof.
Please send requests here. Include “Sounds of Buffalo” in the subject box of the email.